Stripers in The Race are the best bet this holiday weekend

Our first long weekend of the summer will feature some good striper fishing in The Race and adjacent waters; keeper fluke where you find them and possibly the first porgies of the year, that season now open.

Captain Jack Balint of the Fish Connection spoke with me via cell saying he fished his first charter of the year Wednesday, starting on the flood tide off Watch Hill for a few scant schoolies then moving to the start of the ebb at Race Point. There he found better numbers of small bass chasing five- to six-inch sand eels on top.

If you fish Race Point this weekend don't be surprised to see a new "landmark." A 40- to 50-foot tugboat ran aground inside the red buoy over a month ago and has yet to be removed, another unfortunate vessel that came to grief in that spot.

Jack also reported some casting opportunities at times on the slack tide around Latimer Light, and also the rocky points between the Monastery and Stonington. Bucktailing has been good during the day in The Race and diamond jigs also working on either end of the tide when it isn't running that hard.

Fluking in local waters is so-so with some keepers out there but also others that aren't big enough to take home. Your best bet might be the deeper water off Isabella or maybe Seaflower if you launch from Bayberry Lane and don't want to go far in a small boat. With the New York fluke limit at two fish per person, some are questioning the wisdom of burning all the gas to run over to Montauk for too little in return.

Bunkers are up in Norwich Harbor and, at certain times of the tide, they then move up into the Shetucket River, coming close enough for shore anglers at the park in Norwich. Shore fishermen also caught bass along the Rhode Island beaches, one of the better catches 15 fish, six keepers, made early in the week. But since then it's been very poor at times at sunset. If you drive over, bring bug dope on the quiet evenings. Summer is knocking and the swarms of skeeters and no-see-ums are armed and dangerous.

Over at Bob's Tackle in Uncasville, Red heard about the first porgy catches of the season, one of those over around Orient Point, others no doubt closer to home as time goes on. You are allowed to keep 10 fish per person at 10.8 inches fishing in state waters.

Bunkers attracted some larger bass and small blues in Norwich Harbor. Along the rest of the river you'll find shorts, more small blues and possibly some smaller keepers, Red said. Fluking locally is so-so: keepers for some, nothing legal for others.

Al Golinski of Misquamicut is down for the long weekend, fishing every day for fluke off the local Rhode Island beaches, catching fair to good numbers of fish depending on the day, sizes to about 5 pounds. He is using a bucktail with stinger hook for a whole, small squid and ahead, a 3-inch shad as a teaser that is dressed with a strip of squid. Most of his fish are spitting up squid when swung aboard.

At Hillyers Tackle, I was told about some keeper fluke caught off Millstone at times and bass trolled up at Inner Bartletts and off the Millstone discharge. Porgy season is open so we should be getting more reports next week. Some flounder were caught in Niantic Bay off Black Point and Millstone but that season will close on Sunday.

Kyle at J&B Tackle said his dad is running their charter boat after dark and catching bass in and around The Race each time out. Night fishing at this time during some years can be a little iffy, said Kyle, but not so far in 2010. Fluke catches in the Sound have been just OK with some coming from Two Tree Channel. As of this report, it's probably better down off Rhode Island.

Mark at River's End said the small boats are having a tougher time fooling bass in the lower Connecticut River. All the boat traffic and engine noise in shallow water may be a factor. Flounder fishing remains very poor, probably to the point no one is even trying. The first fluke of the season were caught in the river channel; also out on the Sand Shoal. There are bass on Hatchetts Reef for trollers and drifters, the season swinging into high gear for stripers.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at thewreckhunter@aol.com

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